There seems to be a bit of porteño-satire going on in this tale of an ill-fated road trip. The story begins with the narrator's wife telling the narrator how she also hates to see people driving around in cars, because she knows that they enjoy making her jealous, what with the way they flaunt their travel to some exciting/relaxing location with all their cool friends. She works herself up into a bit of a state, so the narrator agrees to take her for a drive.
He borrows a friends old Lincoln, and they dress up a bit and go for a drive. Between the narrator's struggles to deal with Buenos Aires traffic and his wife's forced attempts to look as if they're having the times of their lives, the scene quickly grows rather grotesque. It is at this point that the wife decides that it is all those people staying at home and showing off what a fun time they're having at that that really make her sick.
It's a bit broad to make for an emotionally resonant portrayal, but as a poke at the porteño obsession with being seen and envied, it works pretty well. There is also one final surprise in store for the couple, which I thought worked pretty well.
Donald Hall (1928-2018)
3 weeks ago